Utah Men’s Basketball Break Records in Dominant First Week of 2019 Season


University of Utah freshman forward Both Gach (11) went up for a dunk in an NCAA Men’s Basketball game vs. Washington State at Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday January 12, 2019.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brayden Ramsay, Sports Writer

The University of Utah men’s basketball team was able to get their first victories of the 2019 season as they took on the Nevada Wolfpack and the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils this past week.


Nevada Wolfpack

Timmy Allen started off with the hot hand, leading the team with 11 of Utah’s first 27 points. The Utes had success passing the ball around and finding the open man early on as they led by as many as 8 points in the first half.

Rylan Jones also found a rhythm in the first half, knocking down 7 points alongside 3 assists and 3 rebounds. The freshman showed a confidence beyond his years as he brought the ball up the floor and created opportunities for the Runnin’ Utes to score.

Nevada would go on an 8-3 run to tie the game at 30 before the Utes extended the lead to 5 points heading into halftime.

The highlight of the night happened straight out of halftime as Mikael Jantunen caught a pass under the basket and dished the ball off to Allen, who threw down a violent dunk to put the Utes up 3.

Utah also had success scoring in transition throughout the matchup. At 15 minutes left in the game, Lahat Thioune came up with a big block that wound up in the hands of Allen. Allen then found Both Gach who raced down the length of the floor for a layup to put the Utes up 6.

Nevada would go on an 11-1 run late in the game to take the lead by 2 before the Utes were able to go on a 7-0 run to take the lead back by 5.

Although the Wolfpack made a few pushes to get back into the game, the Utes were able to hold on to a 79-74 victory. Allen and Gach led the Utes with 23 and 22 points respectively while Jones finished with 5 assists next to Allen’s 11 rebounds.


Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils

It was complete domination on both ends of the floor from the Utes as they topped Mississippi Valley State by 94 points, winning 143-49.

The Utes set a plethora of records on Friday night, with the first being a school record for most points in a game, surpassing the previous record of 132. The Utes also set an NCAA record for biggest margin of victory with 94 points between two Division One teams and an NCAA record for most 3-pointers made (17). Utah also scored the most points in one half of basketball (2nd half, 73 points) in school history.

The freshmen played well in the first half, coming up with big plays on both ends of the floor. Branden Carlson was firing on all cylinders, scoring 6 of the first 11 points of the game for the Utes. Jaxon Brenchley also hit two 3-pointers in a row to rid the Utes of an 0-5 start from beyond the arc.

Allen scorched the nets with 22 points to start the game while Gach led the squad with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Each of these stats were from the first half.

At halftime, the scoreboard read Utah 70-Mississippi Valley State 20.

The second half went just about how you would expect as the Utes continued to capitalize in transition. Their efforts were at maximum level, even with the Utes up by 74 early in the latter part of the game. Jones dove for 2 lose balls which turned into 4 points, and Alfonso Plummer paired with Eli Ballstaedt hit four 3-pointers in a row to put the Utes up 112-31. The Utes cruised to victory, beating the Delta Devils by 94 points.

“I thought we were really gritty, I get a sense that this is a team that’s really connected and plays really hard. That’s part of their DNA growing up,” said Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak. “It’s hard to teach kids how to play hard. It’s natural for a lot of our guys, and it’s fun to be a part of.”

Gach and Jones both had a triple-double, as Gach scored 12 points with 10 assists, and 10 rebounds, and Jones had 10 points with 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

“Overall the game felt really good. I had a lot of fun personally. We were sharing the ball, making plays for each other and making baskets. The triple-double feels good too,” Gach said. “Passing the ball around and hitting shots, it just feels pretty good.”

The Utes were led by Allen with 26 points while Gach and Jones led the team in rebounds with 10. Jones also helped the effort in the victory with 11 assists on the evening.


Whats Next For the Utes?

Utah will welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers to town on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 at 7 p.m. The matchup will take place in Salt Lake City at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.


Can’t Make it to the Game?

The matchup between the Utes and Golden Gophers will be televised on Pac-12 Networks and radio broadcast on ESPN 700. 


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